By on July 30, 2015

2015_Ford_F-150_Pickup_Truck

Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit.

The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap crash test, earning a Top Safety Pick rating. The re-tested SuperCab registers only a “marginal” rating in the same crash.

The difference, according to Automotive News, are tubular frames called “wheel blockers” installed on the SuperCrew, but missing from the SuperCab and Regular Cab models.

Read More >

By on May 8, 2015

pcarskotaku

Project CARS is probably the most hotly-anticipated automobile-related video game to “drop” in the past few years. It’s ridden a positively Kanagawan wave of media hype and compensated “viral” marketing to its release – but at least one well-informed source is saying that this new emperor is decidedly trouserless.

Read More >

By on August 11, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 long box

The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload.

Read More >

By on May 12, 2014

pumping gas

As fuel economy figures from the Environmental Protection Agency have been put under the gun for being heavily inaccurate in a few cases, a third-party testing company is offering the public real-world mileage numbers for comparison.

Read More >

By on May 2, 2014

FordCMaxHybridAdCap-626x338

The Federal Trade Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to resume its review of fuel economy claims in advertising by automakers and dealers, and whether or not the agency should revise the 40-year-old guidelines governing them.

Read More >

By on January 16, 2012

Obama! Socialism! Taxes! Jesus! Faith! Guns! Now that you’re paying attention, it’s time for our regularly scheduled programming. A Detroit News article claims that NHTSA is denying any interference on the part of the White House with respect to the Chevrolet Volt fires that resulted from government crash test procedures.

Read More >

By on January 13, 2012

 

I remember looking at the then brand new Ford Five Hundred and thinking to myself, “This would make one heck of a Volvo.”

Like the Volvos of yore this Ford offered a squarish conservative appearance. A high seating position which Volvo’s ‘safety oriented’ customers would have appreciated. Toss in a cavernous interior that had all the potential for a near-luxury family car, or even a wagon, and this car looked more ‘Volvo’ than ‘Ford’ to me with each passing day.

Something had to be done…

Read More >

By on November 30, 2011

We’ve been a bit critical of Honda’s advertising recently, and though I’m not a big fan of most of the latest David Puddy (OK, OK, Patrick Warburton) spots, I have to give it up for this one. I’ve wondered about the “cars with bows” ad meme for some time now, and though it was estimated that some 50,000+ vehicles were given as gifts last holiday season, I really can’t wait for the ad theme to die. We all love surprise gifts (especially expensive ones), but shouldn’t the person who will actually be driving the car have some say in what they get? I mean, I’d be grateful if someone bought me a new Lexus RX (a chief perpetrator of this ad meme) out of the blue… but mostly in the “it’s the thought that counts” way. Want to surprise someone with something expensive? Buy them jewelry or a watch. Want to buy someone a car? Make sure you really know exactly what car the giftee wants, and for goodness sake, make sure they drive it and the competition first. Surprises last a few seconds, the right car will delight for years to come.

By on August 27, 2011

This Cadillac ad is the latest in a series of seriously good spots for the CTS-V, which started with this “Competition” ad from last Summer. But then, as I found in a short drive, the CTS-V writes its own ad copy, 556 HP at a time. And this latest spot has one minor truth-related omission: though GM rightly claims that Magneride Magnetorheological suspension was “perfected” in the CTS-V, it actually debuted in the less ad-dollar-worthy 2002 STS. And there’s no mention of the fact that the technology was developed by Delphi, then a technically independent firm, and the technology has since been sold to Beijing West Industries. Of course, these details aren’t exactly worthy of the limited time available in a 60-second spot, but it’s the truth, dammit. “Just sayin…”

By on August 23, 2011

When Mercedes featured hooded death in an ad for its Brake Assistance System, our own European automotive advertising veteran, Bertel Schmitt, wrote

never in my life would I have expected to see the grim reaper in a car ad. Especially not in the death seat. Especially not in a Mercedes ad. The boys from Sindelfingen never were known for their daredevil approach to advertising. Even at Volkswagen, which used to take more risk in their campaigns (< - they said this one wasn’t approved), any ad showing an old man with a scythe would have been immediately – - killed.

Of course, most Americans wouldn’t bat an eye at an ad featuring death… from politics to sales, our culture is built on scaring people into buying/accepting things. But this Dutch ad for the Hyundai Veloster, which was apparently approved and then banned, would have caused a few quizzical looks in any country. Not because it features death incarnate, but because advertising the Veloster’s freaky three-door layout as a safety feature is just that absurd. This ad should never have seen the light of day for the simple reason that it’s an old-school and utterly conventional approach (by banned-ad standards, anyway) to marketing one of the few cars on the market that is willfully and unnecessarily unique, simply for the sake of being unique. Surely, in this age of appliance-like cars, conventional styling and unadventurous product planning, uniqueness is enough of a marketing hook on its own…

By on August 19, 2011

With the environment taking an ever-larger place in automotive advertising, it’s interesting to note that Fisker’s latest brochure puts green in its place: behind sexy. Of course these sultry images [via BusinessInsider] aren’t free from environmental overtones, featuring taglines like “designed to get you hot, not the planet,” but it’s clear that Fisker is more heavily relying on the most traditional tool in the advertising playbook. Why? For one thing, even though Fisker is delivering Karmas, the EPA has not yet certified its efficiency rating… so we don’t even know how environmentally friendly it is yet. For another the Karma’s main rival, Tesla’s forthcoming Model S, is pure electric and therefore more appealing to wealthy environmentalists. Finally, unlike environmental messaging, sex doesn’t remind people that Fisker was the beneficiary of over half a billion dollars in government loans. Plus, sex is still, well, sexy. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

By on July 19, 2011

Despite signs that the horsepower wars are over (or have at least been refined), nobody would argue that the American market lacks for high-powered offerings. Except, apparently, Dodge and its crack ad team at Wieden + Kennedy who have based the latest Durango ad around the idea that performance is dead in America. This canard is so preposterously misguided and thoroughly misinformed that I can’t even bring myself to lay out the all-to-obvious critique piece-by-piece. Instead, let’s turn to the legendary auto ad-blaster, the Autoextremist himself to point out why this may well be one of the most stupid car ads in a long time.
Read More >

By on June 29, 2011

Every advertiser faces a basic choice at the outset of a campaign: come up with unique, relatable imagery for ads, or riff on an established cultural meme. Volkswagen went the latter route with its “Darth Vader” Super Bowl ad, achieving huge success: it was the most popular auto-related ad of the Super Bowl, and the Youtube version has received over 40 million views. The only problem with appropriating such popular imagery: you don’t enjoy unique rights to it, meaning you can be easily hoisted by your own petard. Which is exactly what’s happened here to Volkswagen. Greenpeace is angry that VW opposed a bid to bump the EU’s 2020 emissions goal from the agreed-upon 20% to 30% of 1990 levels (even though C02 emissions improved 3.7% last year and 5.1% in 2009, and average emissions are on track to hit the 130g/km 2015 goal ahead of schedule). As a result, they’ve turned VW’s hugely popular “Darth Vader” ad on its head, identifying the giant automaker with the evil Lord Vader, and encouraging fans to “join the rebellion.”
Read More >

By on May 23, 2011

This new Volkswagen ad is the first global thrust of the firm’s latest ad campaign, which centers around the concept of environmental friendliness, and the tagline “Think Blue.” The ad is nothing special in itself, other than being somewhat hypnotic in its cross-cultural depiction of changing environmental consciousness, but the blue-is-the-new-green campaign as a whole is more than a little confusing for a number of reasons.
Read More >

By on May 10, 2011

Honda’s latest Civic may not have made a great impression on TTAC’s Best and Brightest, but the new compact isn’t targeting any one buyer anyway. As theinspirationroom.com reports [click through for new ad videos], Honda’s new Civic campaign is all about broadening the model’s appeal… to five specific stereotypes.

The campaign features five distinct characters, each representing a different model. The Urban Woodsman, Jack, lives in the city but is at home in the woods. He likes his Hybrid for its great fuel efficiency, which comes in handy on his many trips to the great outdoors. The Zombie, Mitch, is a salesman who’s into high-tech gadgets. His Civic Sedan is loaded with options like Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and navigation system with FM Traffic. The Monster, Teeny, is a bubbly and studious college coed. Her practical nature and frugal budget align with the fuel-efficient HF model. The Ninja, Aiko, is cute, innocent and deadly. A martial-arts phenom who’s partial to red licorice and arcade games, she pairs well with the high-energy performance of the Si model. Cesar, the Champion Luchador, is somewhat of a celebrity. He’s handsome, charming and a bit vain so he, of course, appreciates the Civic Coupe’s sleek lines.

Of course, Honda never needed this kind of segmentation silliness (which reeks of the “brand central studios” that Bob Lutz rips in his new book) in order to make its Civic one of the best-selling nameplates in the US market. Meanwhile, the requisite price of this kind of “personality profiling” is that the mass market “profile” (i.e. the people who buy the majority of Civics) gets a short shrift compared to the smaller but sexier niche profiles. As a result, Honda signals that it sees the bulk of Civic buyers as “zombies,” with no distinguishing characteristics besides a vague affinity for tech toys. Compare this to the legendary tagline “you meet the nicest people on a Honda,” and you’ll begin to get a sense of how far Honda’s marketing has fallen in recent years…

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States